April 5, 2011 – Newburn to East Wallhouses – 10 (or 13) miles
We awoke at what would become a customary hour, and enjoyed a properly enormous English breakfast, of which we were able to down about half.
Today started with an urban adventure. Our electronics were all running low after three days away from their beloved hundred-and-twenty, and we had hoped there would be something like a neighborhood Radio Shack, but having seen no such thing, and noting that our surroundings were getting more rural, we (correctly) determined this was our last chance. So we emptied our room and headed for the mall. That’s right, the mall.
We hiked 1½ miles to the nearest bus stop, and tried really hard not to be annoying and touristy. We bought a power adapter (at Argos, which is what I’d imagine an Amazon Store would be like), sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect our eyes from the wind (windglasses?). Oddly, we have no photos of the mall, but you, dear reader, have probably seen a thousand just like it.
Having secured our prizes, we rode the bus back to Lemington, and backtracked the 1½ miles to where we started the day. It was now about 11am, and time for the hike!
Just before we stopped for lunch, we sighted our first visible piece of Roman wall! In actuality, it was a bit underwhelming, and the area had become a dog park.
Lunch in Heddon-on-the-Wall isn’t really lunch without a couple of pints at the Swan, now is it?
One of the reasons our electronics lasted so long is that our phones don’t work with the 3G network in the UK, so we had to find free wi-fi where we could. This is me, trying (unsuccessfully) to barnacle onto the wi-fi at a pub.
In the mid-1700’s, the English built a road on top of the ruins of the wall, as part of their war with the Scots. This part of the path had many stones peeking out from under the B6318, many of them likely cut by Roman hands.
This part of England is covered in sheep pastures, and it happened to be lambing season when we passed through. Becky’s voice would raise by (on average) two octaves whenever we saw them. Quite a bit of the trail runs straight through these pastures, so that happened often (click here to get a taste of our experience).
On this day we passed several sites where the Roman ruins hadn’t been excavated. We wondered why these troves of history were unopened, but we wouldn’t discover the reason for a few more days.
At one point, Becky had to use the facilities when there were none in sight, so we found a place where drivers on the road wouldn’t see her activities. The natives of this place defended their homeland vigorously; we had to break out our topical anæsthetic for the nettle bite on her finger.
This is called a stile. We crossed so many. We didn’t find any crooked sixpence, though.
The reservoir at Whittle Dene (in the distance in this next photo) played a large part in the industrial revolution, but now it’s home to a bird-watching hide.
Very near the end of our trek, we spotted this in the wall of a house:
At long last, we reached the Robin Hood Inn, a cozy little pub in the teensy village of East Wallhouses. Apparently, it’s about the only thing there. Exhausted, we tucked into some pie, potato skins, and more beer, and chatted with the other patrons, all of whom had walked the same path we were.
Our lodging for the night was at a farm house which was built in 1735. Ordinarily it would have been another mile of hiking to get there, but the proprietor actually drove to the pub to pick us up, and gave us a history lesson on the way back! We enjoyed the bath and watched a bad cooking show before calling it quits for the day.